'What to do' ideas in Israel for Tu Bishvat

Need plans for Tu Bishvat? Look no further

KKL-JNF Child plants tree sapling (photo credit: KKL)
KKL-JNF Child plants tree sapling
(photo credit: KKL)
This coming Monday is the birthday of the trees. Taking place at the very beginning of spring each year, Tu Bishvat reminds us to get out into nature and enjoy all the budding blossoms and green grass growing all around us here in Israel. In its honor, nature reserves around the country will be open and offering exciting activities connected with nature for visitors.

MODI’IN’S SOUTHERN HILLS
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) will be celebrating Tu Bishvat this year in Modi’in’s southern hills. Hidden among the many flowers and gorgeous vistas, hikers will discover remains of an ancient settlement. There will be arts and crafts workshops, hot tea and fresh pitot baked on a tabun. SPNI staff members will be stationed all around the hills, and visitors are welcome to walk along the paths (not with baby strollers, though) and enjoy the sights.
Date: Shabbat, February 15, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Location: Paths can be reached from Modi’in’s Menachem Begin Square or Police Square.
Details: (03) 638-8688

RUHAMA FOREST
In honor of Tu Bishvat, KKL-JNF will be holding free events this year for the whole family. The exciting Chagiga Baya’ar event, which will include tree planting, is a great way for the kids to become comfortable in nature.
Date: February 12-13, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Location: Ruhama Forest.
Details: The event is free of charge and does not require any registration.

YAIR STATION, HATZEVA
The public is invited to the Yair Station in Hatzeva to take part in the Great Agricultural Exhibition that will take place there on February 12 and 13. There will be guided tours, free of charge, in which the public will be able to see for themselves all the new developments taking place in Israel’s agricultural sector. Visitors can enjoy themselves at the farmer’s market, craft fair and food court, as well as visit the Vidor R&D Center, where guests can learn all about technologies that help farmers grow flowers and fruit in the desert. There will also be a 3D video and an interactive space experience.
Date: February 12-13.
Location: Yair Station in Hatzeva.
Details: 077-568-1603; www.aravaopenday.co.il

DVORAT HATAVOR
The visitor center at Dvorat Hatavor honey farm will be holding special Tu Bishvat activities this weekend, including a guided tour of the honey extraction facility, where participants will see a live demonstration of the production of honey and silk, as thousands of bees returning back to the hive after pollinating trees in the nearby groves. Kids can make bee-related arts and crafts projects, including making candles from fragrant beeswax, 3D bugs and signs to hang up on their bedroom door. Kids can feed the newborn pygmy goats (while mom and dad warm themselves with tea with honey) and leave with a free plant to grow at home.
Date: February 7-8. Tours begin at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
Price: Adults NIS 42, children NIS 52.
Details: Pre-registration required – (04) 676-9598, 050-563-7645.

AYALON CANADA PARK
“Tiuli Free Tours”, a non-profit venture, is offering a special 2 ½ hour sing-along Tu Bishvat hike in Ayalon Canada Park that is free of charge. The two-kilometer path will pass through lush areas full of almond trees, ancient burial caves, an aqueduct from the Roman period, wells, a lake and natural springs. This is a wonderful time of year to walk through the area, since the date, pomegranate and olive trees are currently in bloom. There will also be lots of singing during the hike.
Date: February 15 at 9:30 a.m.
Location: Tmarim Lake, Ayalon Canada Park.
Directions: At Latrun intersection on Highway 1, turn northeast towards Ayalon Canada Park. After 500 meters, turn right and drive 160 meters, then turn left towards the lake. Drive 960 meters until you see a small parking area on your right, and look for the “Tiuli Free Tour” tour guide.

JERUSALEM BIBLICAL ZOO
The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, aka the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, will be celebrating Tu Bishvat with the lions and all the other animals that reside at the zoo. On this special day, visitors will join zookeepers as they learn the correct way to plant trees, and participate in an interactive workshop where they will learn how to train animals using trees. Guests can join arts and crafts workshops where they will build objects with clay and pine cones. There will also be a live concert and munching on lots of dried fruits.
Daily animal feedings will take place as usual.
Date: February 14, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Alternate rain date: February 21.
Price: Adults NIS 59, Children 3-18 NIS 46.

KIBBUTZ YAGUR
Yagur Nursery will once again be holding its annual Tu Bishvat festivities during three Saturdays in February. Activities will include making grass heads and other arts and crafts, as well as baking pitot on a tabun. There will be lots of garden products for sale too.
Date: February 8, 15 & 22, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Price: NIS 10 for children (Parents will receive a NIS 10 coupon to be used in nursery for all purchases over NIS 100.)
Location: Hutzot Yagur, Yagur Nursery.
Details: (04)984-8108


OLD COURTYARD MUSEUM IN EIN SHEMER
Take part in family-oriented Tu Bishvat festivities at the Old Courtyard Museum, which includes: making planters from recycled materials in which you’ll get to take home a plant; guided tours of the museum, which focuses on agriculture in the early State days; a walk through the kibbutz; a tractor ride; making greeting cards; decorating palm trees; and baking bread in a brick oven.
Date: February 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Price: Children NIS 45-50, adults NIS 45.
Details: (04) 637-4327.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.